16080 Hesparian Boulevard,
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On April 5, 1947, the United Artists built Lorenzo Theatre opened in San Lorenzo, California. Not only were the opening night attendees treated to showings of “Swell Guy” starring Sonny Tufts & “The Dark Mirror” starring Olivia de Havilland, but they also were among the first the see interior designer Anthony Heinsbergen’s glorious fluorescent murals. These enormous jungle scenes are the first black light murals in Northern California history.
In addition to the works of Heinsbergen, who received his first major theatre commission from Alexander Pantages in 1924 and decorated over 750 theatres nationwide, the theatre was designed by San Francisco architects Alexander A. Cantin, who was known for unique marquees and A. Mackenzie Cantin. Seating was provided on a stadium plan, with a raised stepped section at the rear, rather than the conventional overhanging balcony.
Throughout the years, many special events were held at this amazing treasure. Throughout it’s functioning years, the theatre hosted Saturday morning “kiddie matinees”. Costume parties were held for the community on Halloween. Live amateur performances regularly graced the theatre’s stage. Additionally, the Lorenzo Theatre was the first theatre in northern California to house a live cast of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
The Lorenzo Theatre fell victim to the same disease of it peers, the advent of the multiplex theatre, and closed its doors in 1982. It has remained vacant since.
In early-1999, the Lorenzo Theater Foundation was formed. The California 501c non-profit organization is dedicated to the salvation and restoration of the Streamline Moderne style treasure.
The Lorenzo Theatre was badly damaged by fire on June 5, 2020. There was a further fire in the building on October 24, 2020.
Awards and Merits
ART DECO PRESERVATION AWARD from the ART DECO SOCIETY OF CALIFORNIA IN May, 1986 ten of these are given each year to buildings deemed worthy of preservation.
The Lorenzo Theater was designated a California Historic Resource early in 2001.
On September 12, 2002, the Lorenzo Theatre was named a Historic Preservation (HP) District by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the first in Alameda County.
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